Another one bites the dust. I feared when the Cubs lost on Friday night that the loss didn’t matter as much as the boost it might provide the Brewers. Certainly, the Brewers core and leadership was too good to just roll over and play dead. I wouldn’t have minded if they’d waited a few more days to get hot.
The Brewers executed all weekend long. The Cubs showed flashes of what got them here, but just could never really keep their momentum rolling in any of the three weekend games. And so it is that the first time the Cubs lost two in a row, they kept right on and lost three in a row.
Let’s hope it stops there. Yet another division foe looking to remain relevant comes to town next for five games in three days in the form of the Cardinals. Still playing depleted due to Covid related issues, they did take two out of three from the White Sox on Saturday and Sunday. It will certainly be interesting to see the effects on a team playing eight games over a five day stretch. Even with the seven-inning doubleheader games, that’s still a lot of baseball.
The Cubs also saw Tyler Chatwood go to the injured list. With Jose Quintana not quite ready yet, the Cubs now find themselves quite a few options short. They’ll need five starters in a three day stretch. For those who wondered where Q would slot when he’s ready, this is the ever constant reminder that baseball almost always sorts itself out. A week ago, he looked like a luxury and this week, we are left wishing he was ready to go. You absolutely, positively, can never have too much depth over a long or, in this case, short season.
Game 19, August 16: Brewers 6, Cubs 5 (13-6)
- Superhero: Jason Kipnis (.234). Jason had a key two run single in the sixth inning.
- Hero: Kyle Schwarber (.111). Schwarber gave the Cubs an early lead with a first inning RBI single. He later walked and scored in the sixth run rally. He scored two runs in all.
- Sidekick: Craig Kimbrel (.054). If there was one really good sign out of the weekend, it was two scoreless outings for Kimbrel. He threw a scoreless eighth yesterday and struck out two.
- Billy Goat: David Bote (-.267). Bote was hitless in four trips and struck out twice. Three of the four at bats came with runners on base, including one with the bases loaded and one out, and the other was in the ninth inning.
- Goat: Jon Lester (-.252). Jon had his first clunker of the year. He threw six innings, allowing nine hits and five runs. He didn’t walk anybody but allowed two homers. He did strike out five. Jon forced me to consider just how far I’ll go to excuse a starter who has a poor line, but leaves with the game within reach.
- Kid: Nico Hoerner (-.155). Too many Cubs didn’t hit this weekend. Nico was hitless in four at bats. Some credit should go to Brewers pitchers who largely executed their game plan against Cub hitters all weekend long.
WPA Play of the Game: Jason Kipnis batted with the bases loaded and two outs, the Cubs down 5-3 in the sixth inning. He delivered a game-tying two-run single. (.259)
*Brewers Play of the Game: With the Cubs leading 3-0 in the third inning, Keston Hiura batted with two on and two out. Hiura went deep and tied the game. (.255)
Heroes and Goats Cumulative Standings: (Top 3/Bottom 3)
- Ian Happ 9
- Jason Kipnis 8
- Yu Darvish 7
- Nico Hoerner -6.5
- Willson Contreras -7
- Kris Bryant -10
Up Next: As noted, the Cubs will begin a three day, five game series with the Cardinals tonight. Kyle Hendricks gets the start in the opener for the Cubs. I had the pleasure of attending the game Kyle pitched against the Cardinals early last season when he went the distance, shutting them out. He has been quite good against the Cardinals, particularly at home. Let’s hope he can keep that going, if he could go all seven that could be a potentially huge lift in the long series.
The Cardinals counter with lefty Kwang Hyun Kim. The odds makers have the Cubs as a heavy favorite in this one, surely in no small part based on the track record of Hendricks. The Cubs righthanded bats have been collectively pretty quiet. Hopefully they can get it going against a lefty in the opener.
Neither team has announced a game two starter. That’ll be an oddity to see. The Cubs will be the “visiting” team and bat first in the second game. You’ll recall the added games this week are makeup games from the postponed series in St. Louis earlier this month.
Who was the Cubs Player of the Game?
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